Category Archives: Technology

Why QR Codes Payment Solutions at Restaurants Don't Work

Why QR Code Pay at the Table Systems Don’t Work for Restaurants

The restaurant industry has been forced to adapt in the face of COVID, and one emerging trend that has come out of it is contactless payments. This is a great solution to not only aid in keeping your guests and staff safe, but if done well, also solves two core problems your guest has been facing for years when it comes to paying: transparency and control.

The issue, however, is not all contactless payment solutions are made equally. In fact, most aren’t even contactless nor do they begin to solve the two core guest problems.

I’m talking about QR Code / Pay-at-the-Table solutions.

QR Code contactless payment solutions are a dime a dozen. Everyone’s doing them – where a QR code is printed at the bottom of the receipt for the guest to scan and pay through a web browser. The issue is it’s just a band aid fix to the real problem, not to mention the fees they charge restaurants cut into already thin margins.

On the other hand, there are contactless payment solutions like Vēmos Pay that do solve all issues for both the guest and the restaurant — for free.

But first, let’s look at why QR Code / Pay-at-the-Table systems aren’t a great solution for restaurants or its customers.

1. It’s not actually a contactless payment experience

Let’s start with the most obvious — QR codes printed on the check aren’t contactless. Your server delivers the printed check to the guest, the guest then grabs that check to look it over and, should they choose to, scan the QR code to pay. If they’re splitting the check, they then need to pass that same piece of paper to others in the party who then follows the same process. Everyone’s touching the same item and passing it around, which defeats the whole contactless concept.

2. Your guest still spends an average of 12 minutes paying their check

Did you know it takes an average 12-15 minutes for a guest to pay their check once they’re done with their meal? That’s a lot of wasted time for both you and your customer. QR codes printed on checks don’t fix this. Your guest still needs to wait for your server to bring the check in order to review the bill and pay it. It also takes more time and effort for your guest since they’re now the ones in charge of manually choosing or entering their payment information on a browser.

3. QR codes don’t solve guest transparency

The guest experience of not knowing what you owe until after you’ve consumed the product is a broken one. No other experience in any other industry is this way, and the digital age has caused consumers to expect transparency in all of their interactions. So putting a QR code at the bottom the check is more of the same. The only thing it solves is the guest not handing a credit card over to the server. Instead, consumers are looking to solutions like Vēmos Pay that allow them to view their check the moment they sit down and have complete transparency throughout their entire dining experience.

4. There’s no consistency

Most QR Code / Pay-at-the-Table solutions are proud to promote that there’s no app required. This sounds great on the surface, but this actually causes more headaches for the guest. Apps allow for a secure centralized place for guests to store payment information, so that when it’s time to pay they simply click a pay button rather than needing to whip out their credit card and enter it into a web browser every single time.

Imagine a world where Uber wasn’t an app and was a QR Code cab system. In this world, the cab driver would print a receipt when you got to your destination, you’d scan the QR code to bring up a browser, you’d enter your payment information, and only then would you be able to leave the cab. Sounds silly compared to what you know, right? Uber automated all of that by having an app where riders could transparently see their cab fare and could pay automatically using a stored payment method in the app. The app is what allowed rides to be consistent, fares to be transparent, and payments to be simple.

So what’s a better solution?

Just how Uber automated paying for a taxi service, Vēmos Pay automates paying a restaurant bill.

Contactless Payment Solutions for Restaurants- Vemos Pay vs QR Codes

Vēmos Pay is a consumer app that allows your guests to view, split and pay their check from their own device. Your guest has transparency throughout their entire dining experience by being able to see their check the moment they sit down by entering in their table number. Others in their party can do the same, so when it comes time to split the check they can do so by choosing which items they ordered right in the app. And when it comes time to pay, they have the control to pay whenever they’re ready by using a stored payment method — without needing a printed check first.

It’s truly contactless, gives consumers the transparency and control that they didn’t have before, and it’s free for both the restaurant and consumer.

The Biggest Opportunity You’re Missing

It’s a story that’s too often told, but it’s arguably the most important story there is. Because it often becomes the difference between life and death of a nightlife venue.

This past weekend, I was invited to a product launch party that was hosted at a third-party cider venue. The place was packed. I’m talking bursting at the seams packed. And they only had 2 bartenders working.

It took over 30 minutes to get our first round of drinks, so I just paid for everyone in my group to ease the burdens of the bartender needing to do multiple transactions. Then it took another 25 minutes to get our second round. At this point, we’ve spent nearly an hour of our time just waiting to get a drink, so we left to go drink somewhere else. We supported the launch like we wanted to, but staying here wasn’t worth our time anymore.

The largest e-commerce retailers spend millions of dollars a year to understand their customers. The nightlife industry has yet to change its mindset that it’s beneficial to have the same solutions that thriving e-commerce companies use, which is available to them at a monthly price that’s less than my one tab. Why are we so stuck in our old ways?

Aside from the issue of being grossly understaffed, there’s a bigger issue at hand for the venue: they have no data to improve. Think about it, the largest e-commerce retailers spend millions of dollars a year to understand their customers’ habits so well that they’re predicting what they’re going to buy next. Amazon alone spent nearly $19 billion in 2019 on their marketing efforts and they achieved 20% net revenue growth.

But we as a nightlife industry have yet to change our mindset that it’s beneficial to have solutions that e-commerce has to experience that level of growth. At the end of the night, this venue is going to look at their POS reports and use it as a guide for how they performed that day, and it’ll tell them a very inaccurate story. They have no idea how many people were inside their venue, which is a huge issue. Here’s why:

  • I paid for all of my friends’ drinks. Their POS has no idea that my friends even existed. It’ll show them the number of transactions that were made, but it won’t show them the number of people that were there.


  • If they knew how many guests were there, they’d know the average amount each guest spent, often known as average cost per transaction (CPT). My tab was $160 total on two rounds of drinks for my group of 10. Their POS is just going to show 1 transaction for $160. But in reality, the average CPT is $8. That’s a huge difference between a CPT of $160 and a CPT of $8. They’re going to operate their business believing every guest spends $160, when in reality, the average spend across all guests is $8.


  • While their labor to sales ratio may look favorable, they would have likely made thousands more dollars if they would have been staffed adequately. A couple extra bartenders would have reduced the wait time for people getting drinks, resulting in more drinks in people’s hands, resulting in more money. But because they don’t know how many people there were, they’re bound to make the same staffing decision for a future launch party looking at incomplete POS reports to guide their decision.

But why does this matter?

It matters because this is the type of information that needs to guide decisions to continue to grow and build their business. And because this was a launch party for a different company, I’d estimate 80% of the people that were there had never been to that venue before. And statistics say that 70% are unlikely to come back on their own. Now add in the terrible experience of waiting an hour to get drinks, and that percentage likely increases.

But what’s worse is because they weren’t tracking who came, they have no log of who was there to be able to reach these people again. Do you think Amazon grew to be an $87 billion company by not knowing who’s on their site and not understanding what drives their sales?

I’ve spent over a decade working alongside venue owners and I know firsthand that many are putting their life savings into their venue. I know they want it to succeed. They aren’t looking to throw all their money into a business that’s going to die in the average 18-month timespan. But I also know that most aren’t thinking about how to grow year after year. They tell me they’re “surviving.” They run without insight, hoping people walk through their doors when they open. They aren’t investing in systems that allow them to experience continuous growth.

The Missed Opportunity

Had this venue been using the Vemos ID scanner at the door, they would have had the exact number of people that attended their venue that day. They also would have the names, gender, age, and geographic location of all of those attendees in their dashboard. And had they connected their POS to their Vemos dashboard, they would have the exact CPT readily displayed to them. They’d know which guests made the transaction and what they purchased. They’d be able to define the type of customers that have the biggest impact on their bottom line, and have a strategy to go out and attract more of those types of customers. They’d know who was a new vs. returning guest, and would have been able to get some of those new guests back in the door.

This system is what allows a nightlife venue to operate within an e-commerce model at a monthly cost that’s less than my tab. It’s not hard. It’s not expensive. But it can make the difference between surviving and thriving.

Finally. A venue management app that’s both powerful and simple.

We at Vēmos are excited to unveil our latest Venue Management app — a project that’s been in the works for months with a critical focus on user experience.

We knew the nightlife industry needed a solution that was robust enough to manage an entire venue from one app, but simple enough that venues didn’t need to worry about more training, all at a price point that made sense. So we set out to achieve this.

And now that product is available.

Introducing the first truly comprehensive solution to manage your entire venue, starting at just $50/month. Reservation management? Check. Guestlist management? Check. Events & Ticketing. Check & check. You can even collect walk-up cover charges at the door with cash, credit, Apple Pay or Google Pay. And yes, you can do all of this by simply toggling between Reservations, Guestlist and General Admission screens to accommodate every guest.


We truly built this with the user in mind. Simplicity on the surface to get up and running as quickly as possible. Complexity behind the scenes so you’re presented with information when you need it most.


Let’s take a deeper look.

VIP Reservation Management

Easily manage all your tables in one view, allow staff to sell available tables, and even take table deposits to reduce no-shows. See full guest details to provide a personalized experience as soon as they arrive. Track table spend and party size so you can make smarter decisions in the future about what type of VIP guests have the biggest impact on your business.


Guestlist Management

Never flip through another piece of paper again. Your guestlist is now digital and always up-to-date. Whether guests are added from promoters, ticket sales, your website, or staff, it all funnels instantly to one place, making check-in a breeze. Plus, all checkins tie back to guest profiles, so you always know what types of guests to attract to keep your nights busy.


Cover Charge Management

Like a POS for your door, the Vēmos GA screen gives you true accountability at your door. Add as many entrance types (aka cover price based on promotions) as you want. All users are automatically added as referrers. Now you can collect cover payment from every walk-up guest, know who’s getting in for free or at a discount, and track which promoters are bringing them in for easy payouts.


Events & Ticketing

Create, manage, and sell tickets to your events, and get paid from your sales as soon as a ticket is purchased. All pre-sale tickets will automatically appear in your guestlist with ticket details displayed. Easily handle walkup sales with Cover Charge Mangement, so all tickets are accounted for no matter when they were purchased. Uncover what marketing efforts reach the best guests, which ticket types drive the highest bar sales, and when you can expect to sell out based on historic trends.


Guest Profiles

All your guest details in your pocket. See each guest’s unique profile from their last visit to what they’ve spent at your venue. Read notes from your staff, and see how to connect with them all at your fingertips. Have a recurring guestlist guest that spends a lot at the bar? Upgrade them to a VIP table next time and make their next experience unforgettable.


Insight Only Vēmos Can Give You

Other systems only track your VIP guests. With Vēmos, you get rich insight on all your guests so you can make smart decisions that drive profitability. Connect ID Scan with your POS to track individual guest spend, and unlock even deeper insights about every guest that walks through your door so you can continue to maximize your revenue.

4 Reasons to Have a Digital Guestlist

Pen and paper is one of the biggest cause for mistakes in our industry. I’ve seen venues not let in high profile guests who would have spent thousands inside the door all because one person didn’t know who they were. I’ve seen guest list lines get bottlenecked as the host sifts through pages to try to find the name that was written down. I’ve also seen people who were told they were on the list get turned away because they weren’t added before the list got printed.

None of these things should happen anymore, and it’s costing your venue thousands of dollars as a result.

That’s why it’s time to retire the old pen & paper guest list and upgrade to a digital system that’ll bring in even more revenue opportunities. Here are 4 main benefits from a digital guest list.

1. Increase Efficiency 

You’re able to streamline your guest list line when you have a digital, centralized list. Plus, it’s a lot easier for your staff to handle. All they have to do is either scan the guests’ QR code or search for their name, mark them as arrived, and then they’re on to the next guest. No more sifting through pages of paper. Now guests are inside and spending more money at the bar to drive up your bar sales.

2. Collect Guest Information

With pen and paper, it was next to impossible to collect and track your guest list information. Even if you kept that piece of paper, did you ever look back at it to understand the data? Now you’re able to with ease. A digital system keeps track of your guest list status automatically so you don’t have to cross-reference your list at the end of the night. Plus, you’ll know exactly how many people checked in and which promoter, staff member, or marketing campaign brought them in the first place.

3. Understand Guest Habits

Most guest lists do the mere task of checking people in. The best ones are those that sync with other areas of your venue to present wholistic, individual guest data. This then allows you to better understand who your guests are from a demographic level, but also what their habits and preferences are. What types of beverages do they order? How much do they spend once inside your venue? Do they only come on big event nights; Friday nights; every weekend night? These answers help you to give each guest a more personal experience, allows you to better market to them to keep them coming back, and even gives you the power to upsell them once they arrive. This is the type of activity that grows your club’s revenue while improving their experience — a win-win for all.

4. Get Staff on Same Page

With a digital system, each staff member can have their own login and add guests as they come in. These guests appear on your list in real-time, so there’s never that awkward moment of someone thinking they were on when they never got added. Plus, this removes the need for staff to email or text in their list to make sure their guests get added — they have the ability of doing it themselves and knowing that their guests got on. It’s smoother and has less room for error.


Pen and paper can’t provide anything to you other than simply crossing off names when guests arrive. Retire paper guest lists, move over to a digital guest list, and see the benefits it has on your club’s performance.

Complying with FDA Tobacco 21

On December 20, 2019, the President signed legislation to amend the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, and raise the federal minimum age of tobacco from 18 to 21 years. The FDA was quick to enforce the regulation, prompts posting on its website that it is now illegal for a retailer to sell any tobacco product to anyone under 21 effective immediately.

What this means if you’re in the position of selling tobacco products:

    1. It is now illegal for a retailer to sell any tobacco product to anyone under 21. This includes cigarettes, smokeless tobacco, hookah tobacco, pipe tobacco, and e-cigarettes and other electronic nicotine delivery systems (including vaping products).
    2. T21 applies to all retail establishments and persons with no exceptions.
    3. It is recommended to check the photo ID of everyone under the age of 30 who attempts to purchase any tobacco product

While the FDA recently updated its website stating that “…both the agency and some retailers will need to update current practices to implement this new law as FDA will need time to do outreach and education to retailers and update the agency’s programmatic work to reflect this change in law,” it is not clear how long of a transition period will be allowed. The FDA expects retailers to follow the law and take measures to ensure an individual purchasing a tobacco product is 21 or older.

We at Vēmos believe that every retailer should be in the clear and doesn’t need to spend their time worrying about whether or not they are complying within this grace period. That’s why we’re offering our mobile ID Scan app at just $35/month. It’s the fastest and easiest way to make sure you’re always following regulations so you don’t get caught in a compliance check.

Here’s how it works:

    2. Scan the barcode on the back of the ID, and be immediately alerted if someone is underage. You’ll have visual cues along with audible beeps as indicators. You’ll also be alerted if the ID is expired or invalid.
    3. Scan the next guest’s ID.

It’s that easy. You’ll be set up within minutes, will verify a customer’s age within seconds, and have a log of all your scans should you ever need to prove your compliance. Get started now.